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Some Kids I Have Known
You Can Fool Some

Lenny had a soccer  ball.  He was the only kid on the block with a soccer ball.  Now times were  difficult in the city.  Jobs were on again and off again.  Everyone was nervous about their income.  Lenny's father had been  sent home from his job with the promise of a call back as soon as “thing's pick up.”

More and more important to the children was Lenny's soccer ball. Wherever he happened to be, one could see him working the ball  back and forth with his feet. The children around him were always glad to have him there because they too could play.

One day as Miranda was pulling her car into the drive.  She saw that ball in the gutter.  It was flat and was most certainly deflated.

“Oh my!”  “Lenny's ball.”  “Too bad.”  “Too bad.”  The young woman picked the ball up from the street.

When her husband returned from work, she showed him the sad looking flattened piece of leather. “Look!” “Do you think you can take this to the shoe shop?”  “Do you think they could sew the outside of it up?” “I'm sure we can order a new liner for it.”

Miranda's husband was a whiz at repairing anything. In a few days he returned from work holding the ball up with a grin on his face.  Black and white acrylic paint the woman used and she was busy painting the pattern back on the ball.  Most of the color  was worn off anyway.

She set the ball on the table close to the large outside window for the sun to dry it,  paying no attention to the fact  the children outside might see it.  Evidently, the children did see it, where upon they ran to tell their father.  Probably, the child did not even know the ball had been flattened.

When she stepped up to the door to answer it, she saw it was the man from next door.  He was angry with a definite raging snarl on his face. Because of this Miranda stepped out of the house onto the patio where he was. The man was out of work, hating the world,  and now he was taking all that anger out on her. He raved on and on about how she had stolen his son's soccer ball.  Miranda kept very quiet but,  he looked so violent  she wasn't sure what he was going to do. She stepped over putting her foot on her son's ball bat he had thrown down.  Why she did that she couldn't explain. Maybe she was afraid he would pick it up and use it on her. But, for a moment the action stopped the man's raving.

“Now, are you quite sure you are through?”  She asked him.  “If you are, I want you to know we spent some time and a little expense on repairing your son's ball after I found it smashed flat in the gutter.”  “I knew you were out of a job and I felt sad he had lost his ball at this time.”  “With that she stepped inside the door and picked up the ball.” “I was waiting for it to dry before I gave it to him.”  “But, since you have shown me how you really feel.   “Here take it!”   “As it is!”

Miranda had no question as to the ball being dry. The acrylic paint she used really  almost dries instantly, but the man didn't know this. As she in a quick motion tossed it to him, it slapped into his hand with a smacking sound. He pulled one hand away, looking at it to see if there was paint there. She laughed and quickly  returned to the inside of the house, lest he should be  anymore  embarrassed and sheepish looking.

That evening as she related the story to her husband his only comment was, “Well, you could have fooled me.”  “He always seems to have such a pleasant personality.”

Miranda grinned.  “Oh well!”  “You know what old Abe said.”  “You can fool some of the people some of the time!”

“I know.”  “I know.”  “You can fool some of the people, some of the time.”  “But, you can't fool all of the people all of the time.”

Shortly afterward,  the man was called back to his job, but forever on, when he saw Miranda, he would duck his head with that same ashamed look he had the day she tossed him the ball.  Miranda felt bad about that. She knew if it had to be done over it  would be the same decision. If the young woman had asked him if she could take the ball to repair it, all his manly  pride would not have consented to it. It was just unfortunate,  she had let the child see it before returning it to him.

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